ASSALAAMU ALAIKUM WA RAHMATULLAH Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam.
In April this year, Asma Ahad joined IFANCA as Director of Halal Market Development. She has a bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to graduation, she interned for the Kraft Foods Cheese Division, in Glenview, Illinois and, on graduating, joined Kraft full time as a Product and Process Developer. Asma has work experience in R&D and Supply Chain. She also led Kraft's Muslim Marketing initiative in which she validated the consumer demand for Halal products, establishing a connection between Kraft products and Muslims.
Sugar Isn't to Blame for Obesity, Says Sugar Association. Ditto, say the Corn Refiners Association, about HFCS
There is much finger pointing these days. Sweetened food products, especially soft drinks, are being held partly responsible for America's widening waist lines, its jump in juvenile diabetes and, inadvertently, rising blood pressures. The Sugar Association, in turn, points out that most soft drinks are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and not sugar. It says that HFCS is used almost 15 times more than sugar, in beverages. Sugar is not part of the problem, says Andrew Briscoe, president and chief executive of the Sugar Association. Ask the Corn Refiners Association, or Dr. Chaudry and they’ll tell you HFCS and sugar are identical in the way they are used by the body. HCFS is the chemical and nutritional equivalent of sucrose (refined sugar). It has the same calories, chemical composition and is metabolized in the same way as sugar. The American Medical Association, no less, concurs.
Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association, said consumers were being duped, in a 2009 New York Times article. On its website, Sweet Surprise.com, it touts that CBS Evening News with Katie Couric ran a report, "Is high fructose corn syrup really so bad?" prepared by CBS News Correspondent Michelle Miller who noted that high fructose corn syrup is just sugar with an image problem.
Dr. Muhammad Munir Chaudry, President of IFANCA calls the current attitude towards sugar and HFCS unfounded in facts and an over-reaction. "It's not like one is bad and the other is good. High-fructose corn syrup found its way into everything from soda to bread and yogurt because it was 20 percent cheaper than sugar and easier to transport. There is no scientific evidence that if you eat 40 pounds of sugar or 40 pounds of HFCS per year, you would fare worse consuming one over the other. Irrespective of which one you choose, use moderation. In excess, both are bad, especially for individuals with metabolic disorders."
Dr. Walter Willet, the chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and a prominent proponent of healthy diets had said very much the same thing, way back in 2006. "There's no substantial evidence to support the idea that high-fructose corn syrup is somehow responsible for obesity," said Dr. Walter Willett, in a New York Times interview. "If there was no high-fructose corn syrup, I don't think we would see a change in anything important. I think there's this overreaction.”"
While consumers may, unwittingly, gravitate between HFCS and sugar, exhortation to keep them from too much of the sweet stuff, doesn't seem to be having the desired impact. Now there are rumblings of higher taxes on sodas. Gov. David Paterson of New York State wants to pair his vote for increased taxes on sodas with a decrease in tax on bottled water and diet soda.
According to a study published in the March 8, 2010 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, a price hike on unhealthy foods may keep adults from reaching for an extra handful of chips or can of soda. Over a period of twenty years, from 1986 to 2006; 5,115 young adults, ages 18 to 30, were assessed for their dietary habits. Researchers found that a 10% price increase was associated with a 7% decrease in the amount of calories consumed from soda and a 12% decrease in calories consumed from pizza. Researchers approximated that an 18% tax on such foods would result in approximately 56 fewer consumed calories per person, each day. "Our findings suggest that national, state, or local policies to alter the price of less-healthful foods and beverages may be one possible mechanism for steering U.S. adults toward a more-healthful diet," they wrote.
Again, Dr. Chaudry would agree. "Ask someone to eat as much of Ghirardelli chocolate as they do of a Hershey bar. They wouldn't, because Ghirardelli is so much more expensive. If food cost more, we'd eat with moderation, waste less and weigh less too."
World Halal Research Conference – Inspiring Innovation through Halal Research, June 23-25
Halal sausage, halal hamburger, halal pizza, halal hot dogs, halal beef jerky, halal gyro meat. Walk into an ethnic store that sells halal meat and we've come to expect these products. What's more, today, halal meat can be ordered online and delivered to your home the very next day. Not bad for a nation where 25 years ago, Muslims had to either seek out the one Muslim store in the entire state that sold halal meat or had to visit the local farmer to slaughter a goat for their dinner, themselves.
These are just a sample of the many innovations in the halal world that Mian N. Riaz, PhD., Director Food Protein R&D Center at Texas A&M University will discuss at the World Halal Research Conference, this year. He shared some of his insights with Halal Digest.
"Halal innovations, in the last 8-10 years, are in the area of new ingredients, new stunning methods, new development in pharmacy products, improved marketing with new halal food products," he says. "They extend to the latest biotechnology techniques to develop halal products, new certification methods and ultimately, with the development of the right software, will help find halal products in the market." Some researchers, he adds, have started looking into the carbon foot print for halal food production models.
Dr. Riaz elaborated that enzymes and gelatin substitutes are some recent ingredients developed for halal food production. Several new stunning methods, and slaughtering equipment, have been adopted to facilitate halal meat slaughtering in the USA and new medicines and vaccines have been developed so as to avoid the use of porcine enzymes and ingredients.
Further, "new research points towards vegetarian beef being produced in laboratories using biotechnology. This meat is made from the cells of animals and proliferates inside of a growth chamber. Meat is eventually formed from the multiplying cells," says Dr. Riaz. Yes, if the past decade is a yardstick, we may have a new source of meat in the coming years.
At several universities Nutrition and Food science students learn about religious food (halal) and many campus cafeterias offer halal foods. New software in cell phones and GPS' can now guide consumers to halal grocery stores and restaurants. The food industry will eventually start looking into making halal greener. Yes, if these are its indicators, the time for halal has arrived.
In the manufacture of halal cereal and confectionary, ingredients of concern are gelatin, mono and di-glycerides, cream liquor, L-cysteine and various emulsifiers; such as polysorbates, sodium steroyl lactylate.
For halal certification, all ingredients and materials must be halal suitable, including sanitation chemicals, release agents, pan grease and lubricants.
The States of Illinois, New Jersey, Minnesota, California, Michigan and Texas have passed Halal Food Bills to protect halal consumers from fraudulent usage of the term halal. However, the enforcement of those laws is in limbo.
IFANCA is committed to helping the industry in reaching the halal consumer, worldwide.
China based, RZBC Group (www.rzbc.com), an IFANCA client, was established in August 2002, with a registered capital of RMB 83 Million and total assets of RMB 750 million. Its main products are citric acid and its salts. Citric Acid Monohydrate is mainly used as an acid, flavoring and preservative in foods and beverages. This versatile ingredient is also used as an antioxidant, and a building block for detergents and plasticizers.
Beijing Gingko Group (BGG) is another IFANCA halal certified company with a parent company in China. A leading photochemical manufacturer, all its products are extracted from natural plants. The company specializes in identifying new chemical compounds and improving existing compounds with its extensive R&D and proprietary manufacturing technologies. It provides ingredients for the formulation of food, nutritional and consumer products.